Giants, Ravens feel the urgency of Sunday's showdown

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:41pm EST
 
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, both coming off one-sided losses, are looking forward to Sunday's playoff-caliber showdown with a sense of urgency running through both teams.

The Super Bowl champion Giants need to win their last two games, including a regular season finale against Philadelphia, to ensure a place in the playoffs, while the Ravens, on a three-game losing skid, can win the AFC North title with a victory.

"We have the two-game schedule and we have to win both games to get in the playoffs and everybody's aware of that," New York coach Tom Coughlin told reporters before Wednesday's practice.

The Giants (8-6) are tied for the NFC East lead with the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, but would come up on the losing end of tiebreakers with both teams.

Since Washington and Dallas meet in their final game, two wins would guarantee the Giants a wildcard berth.

The Ravens (9-5) were beaten 34-17 at home last week by Denver, but clinched a playoff berth nonetheless for a fifth successive season. Coach John Harbaugh said it is essential the team got get on track.

"We understand what's at stake," Harbaugh told reporters in a conference call to the Giants' practice facility. "The guys are excited to play. We have plenty to play for. We‘re trying to play for a division championship.

"You do want to build momentum and you want to be your best at the end of the year. You want to build toward that and peak at the right time, and that's what we're really hoping to do."

Coughlin said his team had been plagued by inconsistency and that quarterback Eli Manning was the man to lead them out of the trend after the team was shut out 34-0 last week by Atlanta.   Continued...